Posts from the ‘nonfiction’ Category

HOW TO CUT THROUGH THE NOISE – TEACHING OUR CHILDREN TO BE CRITICAL THINKERS

About 64 million Americans get their news from social media. The reliance on newspapers, radio, and television news segments have been diminished or disappeared. Even broadcasts advertised as the “breaking news” rely on panels of “experts” to relay information. The days of a journalist simply reporting the facts without attaching opinions are gone.

Our children probably rely on social media to an even greater degree. How can we teach them to cut through the noise, sift through the mire, and uncover the objective truth? I have a few suggestions.

VARIETY IS THE SPICE OF LIFE

Make it a point to watch and listen to many different stations and social media outlets. Show your children how different outlets and reporters present information. Do they show both sides of an issue? Are certain people and groups ignored? Tell children they need to hear and see both sides of an issue before judging it authentic. Ask them if the information was reported fairly. Did they get the whole picture?

EVERY STORY HAS MANY ANGLES

Explain how different people look at the same situation differently. Use examples of how family members like different foods, play different sports, and choose different friends. Even mom and dad sometimes argue about preferences. The same applies to news issues. Adults can choose different media outlets and reporters to illustrate how there can be a multitude of different views about the same topic in the news.

IS THAT A FACT?

Use everyday situations to illustrate the difference between a fact and opinion. I am wearing a red shirt today. That is a fact. When you say, that red shirt is ugly, you are issuing your opinion. Facebook and Twitter are littered with opinions. What do people share or retweet? They share and comment on the opinions with which they strongly agree or disagree. Social media outlets do not report the news, they display the opinions of those followers who have decided to reject or endorse them. Children need to understand that reality does not coincide with the majority of social media opinion. Point of view on an issue does not necessarily make what is communicated true. In fact, the reality might be something completely different.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

Adults and children can have fun and learn a lot by analyzing the ads seen in print and on TV. Study that boring commercial and think deeply about the message that is being communicated. How are the actors dressed? What do their gestures tell you? What words do they use? Do they exaggerate the benefits of the product? How are they trying to manipulate you into buying something you don’t really need?

After doing this a few times, take what you learned and apply it to the commentators, reporters, and “expert panels” that you see reporting the news. You will learn a lot about how much opinion is introduced into what is being reported as factual news. This knowledge will go a long way in developing critical thinking skills that will benefit children as they mature and develop the life skills they will need in future careers.

SEEING IS NOT BELIEVING

It’s okay to be critical. In the world of modern technology in which we can press a button to order in minutes, see ourselves in virtual reality, and communicate with friends, family, and co-workers instantly, it has never been more important to be vigilant and careful. We worry about computer hackers, but often neglect to train our own brains to filter out the noise and the mixed messages that seek to distract and deceive us.

BE SMART AND RESPONSIBLE

Watch this quick video to learn how.

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Guerilla Publishing: a sleaze-free guide to publishing and marketing

Written by Derek Murphy

I have read quite a few books offering publishing advice to independent authors. This one filled in some of the blanks about my still unanswered questions.

Most new and independent authors worry incessantly about marketing and spend too much time on it. I will admit to being guilty on that count. Murphy believes authors should spend more of their time and resources writing. He believes the only two things an author should worry about are visibility and conversion. Getting your book in front of the right readers is more important than spinning your wheels using every available marketing tool available.

Before writing authors need to do preparation. Rather than write about what they want, do research, and find genres that will sell. Of course, one still needs to balance that with the need to enjoy writing in that area. Answering who, what, when and where to find your target readers and how to write the best story that appeals to their needs are the next steps.

Murphy discusses the kinds of errors authors make and how to fix them. Then he provides links to problem solve embedded in the text. This allows the reader to go straight to the source and find information about how to fix them. Practical advice on layout, formatting, book covers, and options for distribution are clearly presented. The necessary skills of locating the best keywords, categories, and book reviewers are explained and examples given. Finally, launching the book and getting the sales you need are handled, as well as editing and making changes.

There is a free download to a companion workbook to implement strategies and an invitation to join The Guerilla Publishing Facebook Group in which authors share problems and offer solutions to each other as they come across them.

I would highly recommend this book to fledgling authors as well as experienced authors. After seven years in publishing, I still have much to learn. This book will become part of my toolkit.

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Get the scoop on my latest release!

SHARE THE STORY OF AMERICA’S FOUNDING AND THE OLDEST FEDERAL CONSTITUTION IN EXISTENCE

TRACE THEIR FOOTSTEPS AT INDEPENDENCE HALL & The Museum of the American Revolution with Little Miss HISTORY as your guide.

GET A PREVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE:

https://askdavid.com/reviews/book/children-book/18216

Check out the reviews, videos and other books in this award-winning children’s nonfiction book series.

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UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL

Find Your Power: Discovering Your Inner Strength

Written and Illustrated by Patricia May

 

The author presents an interesting set of exercises for children to discover the “superpower” within themselves. She encourages her readers to use mindfulness practices to dig within themselves and discover cognitive, emotional and physical strengths. Simple objects like a seashell, index cards, stones, and a hula hoop, as well as food items, are used in the exercises. By performing these activities children will become much more aware of the abilities they possess.

I would recommend this book primarily for a middle-grade audience as the book is a bit difficult for younger children to follow. A parent, teacher, or counselor would enhance the usefulness of the skills being taught.

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A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE

How The Cockroach Lost Its Voice: After Dinner Conversations

Written by Samuel Reifler

This book certainly will provoke unique discussions. The protagonists are two cockroaches who venture on a journey to the top of the refrigerator. They carry on a conversation about the squishy humans with three eyes. The third eye is their brain. Unfortunately, their brain allows them to focus on the past and the future as well as the present. That makes them unable to appreciate the beauty around them.

The book contains approximately 17 pages. While I found the plot interesting, it ended rather abruptly and left me wanting to hear more. Readers are provided with discussion questions and a link to a podcast group.

I believe families and couples might enjoy these books to stimulate interesting conversations. Recommended for children and adults ages eight and older.

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BREAKING NEWS:

Little Miss HISTORY Travels to INDEPENDENCE HALL & The American Revolution makes its debut on the world stage.

No Fake News here….just the facts

The United States Constitution is the oldest federal constitution in existence. This document, along with the Bill of Rights, lays out the rights and responsibilities of its citizens. The Founding Fathers embraced the principles of the Enlightenment and a vision of liberty and justice for all. Trace their footsteps at Independence Hall and the Museum of the American Revolution.

Available in hardcover or paperback

AVAILABLE ONLINE OR ASK FOR IT AT YOUR FAVORITE BOOKSTORE

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https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55282858

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TREE SCIENCE

Can a Tree Be Blue?

Written and illustrated by Audrey Sauble

A delightful science book about trees targeted for preschoolers and primary grade children. The author poses the question, can trees be blue? and goes on to examine different types of trees and the colors of their leaves. She explains that many trees change colors in the fall. Winter changes them into grays and browns. Sauble reminds readers about evergreens and how they retain their green leaves. Just when the reader concludes no leaves are blue, the author introduces a surprise.

The illustrations are simple but explain the text appropriately. I enjoyed the interactive features of searching for bugs hidden throughout the pages and the scavenger hunt activity. This is a fun book to add to a science homeschool or distance-learning curriculum.

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SLAVE OR FREE

Vengeance of a Slave

Written by V.M. Sang

Adelbehrd and his family live in the Roman provinces. Their simple life is suddenly turned upside down when Roman soldiers come to exact revenge for a rebellion in which they played no part.

They randomly choose men to be examples. Adelbehrd’s father is crucified. He and his sister are singled out to be sold as slaves because of their blond hair. Torn from their grieving mother, the two terrified children are carted off to a far-off villa to be enslaved.

For many years, their monotonous life continues. One day, Adelbehrd discovers that his sister is about to be sold. A friend tells him about a group of Britons who rescue slaves. Adelbehrd is determined to protect his sister and hatches a plan to escape. Will they be successful, or will they suffer the dire consequences?

The book appears to be well researched. The plot moves along and keeps the reader’s interest. I would recommend it to those who enjoy history and intriguing characters.

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LEADERSHIP SKILLS SERIES #10 How to Be An Effective Leader in the Workplace

A leader in the workplace means setting a good example for others and/or heading up office programs and projects. It does not necessarily mean being a boss, manager, supervisor, or other “official” position, although it can mean that.

Here are some tips and ideas on how to be a leader in the workplace.

Be Confident

“Never let them see you sweat.” No one is perfect; but appearing confident inspires others to trust you and take your advice. Appear self-assured by not talking too much about your fears and concerns. Instead, talk to friends outside of the workplace about your uncertainties.

See the Good in Others

Always observe the good traits of other employees in the workplace. If you need to put certain people in charge of certain tasks, it pays to know who will do well with what task. You also may see potential in a co-worker and challenge him or her by requesting a task that might be a bit outside the scope of his or her current responsibilities. This improves the overall skill set of the workforce, and helps build self-esteem in your co-workers.

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

There’s a difference between being a people person and being a people pleaser. Being a people person means you have a genuine love for people, but you’re not afraid to ask people to do things. Being a leader doesn’t mean doing everything yourself; it means you are comfortable giving up some control and delegating tasks to others.

Appreciate Co-Workers

No one wants to work for or with someone who doesn’t appreciate them. If you let everyone know you appreciate what they’ve done and how they’ve given their time and talents, it can go a long way. Remember that there would be no leaders if there weren’t any followers. People who are appreciated may be more likely to follow your lead next time.

Problem Solving

If you step up with ideas on how to solve dilemmas or problems, and have resourceful ideas about how to accomplish something, then speak up. Employers value the ability to think through a problem and find a creative solution. This is a valuable leadership quality that demonstrates you have what it takes to be an effective leader in the workplace.

MONSTERS BEGONE

The Night the Monsters Came: A Fun Way to Teach Kids Healthy Habits as Part of Their Bedtime Routine

Written by Junia Wonders

Illustrated by Lisa Ciccone

Siblings Jack and Joy are getting ready for bed when Jack warns his sister, the monsters are outside and hungry. He dresses as a wizard and Joy puts on her fairy dress and crown.

As the monsters barge through the door, the children are steadfast. They warn the monsters they are not appealing targets because they follow good hygiene. Why does that turn the monsters off? Read the book to find out.

The rhymes are clever with extensive use of onomatopoeia and bright colors outlining new vocabulary. Illustrations are appropriate and colorful. I highly recommend the book for toddlers and primary grade children.

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